Everton contest stirs memories for former Huddersfield Town favourite Geoff Hutt
Aug 21 2010 by Dougie Thomson, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
GEOFF HUTT stuck with Town through thick and thin.
But the former full-back who represented the club in all four divisions and remains a keen fan will go to Goodison Park for Wednesday’s big Carling Cup second-round clash with Everton surely wondering what might have been.
For back in the early seventies, Hutt, now 60, was strongly linked with a transfer to the Toffees.
The move would have replicated that of fellow left-back Ray Wilson, who left Leeds Road for Merseyside in 1964 and went on to win the World Cup with England two years later.
Town had a remarkable record of uncovering quality young full-backs in that era, with Huddersfield-born future England international Bob McNab emerging to make a £50,000 move to Arsenal in 1966.
At a time when Football League figures revealed the average transfer fee to be £14,000, Town sold left-back Chris Cattlin to Coventry City for £70,000 and right-back Derek Parkin to Wolves for £80,000 within the space of a month early in 1968.
Within a year, Hutt was making his debut in an FA Cup fourth-round home clash with West Ham, with his emergence only coming after another bright prospect, Billy Legg, suffered career-ending injuries in a car crash.
Castleford-born Hutt, the cousin of rugby league ace and future Huddersfield Giants coach Mal Reilly, proved himself a tough-tackling and trustworthy operator, and was one of seven ever-presents as Town so memorably won promotion to the top flight in 1970.
He played in all 84 of the club’s First Division games over the two seasons which followed, but at one stage, it looked like he was Everton-bound.
“There was a lot of talk about a move,” recalls Hutt, who was to make 277 Town appearances in all before leaving the club in 1976 and playing for Dutch side Haarlem, York City and Halifax Town.
“But things were different in those days, and the power still lay with the clubs rather than the players.
“There weren’t agents as such, and you didn’t get to hear anything officially until a move was actually taking place.
“It was a little bit unsettling, but it was also flattering to think a club like Everton were interested.
“They had won the league championship under Harry Catterick in 1970 and so played in the European Cup, and they had some tremendous players.
“You look at the likes of Alan Ball, Howard Kendall, Henry Newton, Brian Labone, Johnny Morrissey and Joe Royle and wonder what it would be like to play alongside them.”
Town had four tough tussles with the Toffees over those two top-flight campaigns, three of which were drawn.